People don't tend to go on ‘dates' with complete strangers but instead often get to know someone who's already in their circle or the friend of a friend, and then it ‘just happens' and they decide to go out together alone. There aren't too many rigid rules, either: "In the Netherlands there are no set rules – you might do all or nothing on the first or tenth date," and, "the timescale between the first date and having sex in France could be anything from 20 years to 20 seconds," said European expats.
In France, Germany and Belgium, it's common for the man to ask a woman out, but in Switzerland, the men can be a little reserved so women might want to give them a nudge.
But knowing some of the cultural differences – who makes the first move, kissing on a first date, how soon to call after a date – may help you avoid awkward situations, or at least stop you from getting hurt or hurting someone else unintentionally.
In Europe, getting to know someone romantically is fairly laid back.
Flip-flops, shorts or scruffy clothes in general tend not to make a good impression in fashion-conscious Europe. In France, a man may be late but don't take it personally – French men are notoriously bad timekeepers.
In Germany and Switzerland, however, punctuality is highly valued so if one of you rolls up late, your date will be off to a bad start.
For French men, it's all about the chase, and playing ‘hard to get' is part of the game.